Fireday, 16 Rova 4707
Leaving Charrone’s horse at the Goblin Squash Stables in Sandpoint, the party set off on foot to return to Thistletop. Since they’d already been there and back, finding the goblin lair took much less time that the previous day, and after about an hour, the Sandpoint Heroes found themselves before the entrance to the Thistletop goblin-tunnels in the thicket across from Skull Rock. The leafy curtain that served as a hard-to-spot door was closed. Larissa listened for activity beyond, and hearing none, opened the door. They looked into a familiar tunnel through the thorny thicket. Halfred, remembering that he fell into a pit trap, probed where he remembered the pit to be with his ranseur, and the branches and leaves covering the pit fell into it.
Larissa scouted ahead, and saw a goblin dog in the tunnel that led to the rope bridge. Reporting back to the party, they attempted to sneak up on them, but the rat-like creatures noticed them anyway and charged them. However, these goblin dogs didn’t move or act normally— they all appeared to have gaping bloody wounds, their eyes seemed milky, and they moved with a lurching stagger. To the party’s horror, they quickly realized that these goblin dogs were some of the ones the party had killed yesterday, and that someone or something had animated the corpses as new guardians (which was something they had seen earlier in the week in the Catacombs). One of the undead creatures bit Charrone, but she lopped its head off with her sword, and Halfred hacked a chunk out of another with his greataxe. While they fought the two undead goblin dogs, four undead goblin warriors lurched forward from their hiding place in a watchpost and joined the fight. The wizards zapped the zombie goblins with magical energy, and Larissa fired arrows at them. While one zombie managed to claw Halfred, the heroes destroyed the zombies with little difficulty.
The party approached the bridge over the chasm across from Skull Rock. Charrone spotted one goblin in each of the watchtowers, but neither of them seemed to be paying any attention: One was throwing stones at seagulls, while the other pretended to throw stones at seagulls but was really throwing them at the first goblin. Under cover of nearby brush, Larissa examined the bridge, and determined that the goblins had reset the trap that would cause one side to drop away if too much weight was applied to it. She ran across the bridge to disable the trap. Thankfully, the goblins seemed too interested in their game of killing birds with stones to notice. Larissa gave the signal, and the party ran across the bridge. They all attempted to hide in the bushes next to the towers in case the goblins decided to actually do their jobs as lookouts.
Larissa picked the lock on the door, and Charrone threw open the doors. Suddenly, the sound of a loud bell ringing could be heard. Ted recognized it as an alarm spell that had been placed on the door. Looking through the door, the party saw that the trophy room was now filled with zombie goblins! Also, at the sound of the alarm, the goblins at the watchtowers turned their rock-throwing attention to the party, but then switched to their shortbows. As the zombies clawed at Charrone and Larissa, Declan summoned the Holy Light of the Dawnflower at the zombies. Smoke rose from the zomies as the burning rays of golden sunshine shone from Declan’s holy symbol. A few of the zombies remained standing, but they quickly fell to Halfred’s axe, Charrone’s sword, and Declan’s scimitar. The group pressed into the room.
Deciding not to press straight to the Throne Room this time, they followed a corridor to the west. They found a couple of unoccupied store rooms, including one that held mostly foodstuffs (barrels of pickles and apples, sacks of grain, hanging sausages), and one that held goblin dog riding gear and bales of straw. Thinking that goblins might be distracted by food, Charrone took a pocketful of apples and some sausages. They also checked out the west tower, which by now was unmanned. From there they went north, and found an open-air courtyard.
The courtyard ground was packed earth, with a few tufts of grass sticking up here and there, and liberally sprinkled with of piles of fecal matter— this place appeared to be where the goblins once kept their ratlike pets. But now, the goblins seemed to be using the courtyard as a charnel-house: about a score of goblin corpses were neatly stacked like cordwood along the eastern wall, and six dead goblin dogs were piled along the western wall. A wooden shack stood along the northern wall, and two bloated goblin corpses lay next to its door. These two dead goblins appeared to have been laying there for several days at least, and a quick examination showed that both of their heads had been bashed in with a large blunt object. The door to the shed was nailed shut, then covered over with more boards that were also nailed in. The door itself was battered, as if something inside had been trying to bash its way out. Larissa listened at the door, and heard the sound of a large animal breathing, and perhaps a sickly whinny.
They pried open the door, and found inside a once-handsome heavy horse, but now it seemed both very sickly and wild with rage. It bolted out of the shed, charging past Larissa, and then reared, striking at Charrone with its hooves. Charrone, being an expert horsewoman, stood her ground and managed to calm it by offering it an apple. She could tell that the poor beast hadn’t had anything to eat or drink in days, and must have been shut up in that shed for the whole time— and that probably it had been what had killed the two goblins. Someone went back to a storeroom for the straw and more apples, and they then took a few minutes to see to the horse’s needs. Once it seemed that the horse would probably stay put, they continued to explore the goblin lair by taking the northern door.
That led to a winding corridor that led past a few empty rooms, including the goblin latrine, and to another door that led to a stone staircase leading down. Larissa searched the area and found two things of interest: the wall behind the latrine was hollow, as was a section of the corridor wall across from the door to the stairs. She found a catch in the latrine to open a sliding door, and in the tiny room behind it was a large seaman’s chest. She dragged the chest into the hallway. As she got out her lockpicks, Ted said, “Hey, why don’t you try one of these?” and offered her Ripnugget’s key ring. One of the keys seemed to be the kind that would fit the keyhole, and she tried the key. However, she had an odd feeling about the chest, and decided to turn the key to the left instead of the right, and the chest opened. Looking at the lock, she saw that if she had turned it to the right, she would have been stuck by a spring-loaded needle that seemed to be covered by a black tarry substance. “Glad I didn’t set that off,” she said. Inside the chest were a thousands of coins (mostly copper and silver, but a few gold), a fine chainmail shirt, some jewelry, and a few other useful items. They dragged the chest to the shed that used to hold the horse, and nailed the door back shut.
Larissa turned her attention to the hollow-sounding panel in the hall. She estimated that this panel was most likely a secret door, but one that could not be opened from this side. Tapping it again, she said that the panel was likely not very thick, and that someone strong could probably chop through it with an axe fairly quickly. Ted handed Charrone a hatchet and suggested that she and Halfred should strike the door simultaneously to try to bust it down in one blow, so as not to give anyone on the other side any warning. Everyone agreed that this was a good idea.
So, on a silent count of three, Halfred and Charrone chopped at the door at the same time with all of their might. The door, being of goblin construction, couldn’t withstand such an assault, and splintered open. Everyone rushed into the room. The room appeared to be a richly-furnished (for a goblin) bedroom: a four-poster canopy bed with an ornately carved headboard stood at one side, it filthy silk sheets in a messy pile. Horse and dog skins covered the floor, and the walls were “decorated” with horse and dog ears nailed to them. Empty wine bottles littered the floor and a table, which also was covered with bloody seagull feathers, beaks, and feet. A single door led south. Larissa listened at the door, and heard goblin voices beyond…